Trucks continue to come and go from the Eagle Creek Village construction site, which every day is looking closer to the shopping and residential hub it was designed to be.
While the overall project is a little behind schedule from what was hoped for, says View Royal Mayor David Screech, the pace of work appears to have picked up of late.
“In the last couple of months they’ve made great strides … It’s all coming together well,” he says.
While Screech heard a rumour that Tim Horton’s was hoping to be open before Christmas, and Cob’s Bread not long after, a source with project developer Omicron in Vancouver stated last week that the majority of the retail shops will be open to the public by next spring.
Among the confirmed retailers include Quality Foods, Forbes Pharmacy, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Dollar Tree and Bosley’s. In the service industry, there’s Great Clips and Academy Dental, while other food services include Starbucks and Subway.
The five-storey office tower at the corner of Watkiss Way and Helmcken Road is the landmark building for the project. Among office tenants confirmed, Coast Capital Insurance Services, a subsidiary of Western Financial Services, is locating its B.C. regional office in the complex.
In all, 90 per cent of the retail space is leased, while the office space is “filling up fast,” according to the company source.
As for the residential portions, the rental units are slate for completion by next summer, while pre-sales for condominiums, the next phase of the project, are expected to begin in the spring.
And many area residents are anxiously awaiting the completion of the new YM-YWCA gym, which will complement the Y facility under construction at the foot of the Westhills development off Langford Parkway. The View Royal Y, which will be a smaller scale but include child care facilities, is slated to open next spring as well.
At the project’s groundbreaking back in 2013, Omicron CEO Bill Tucker called Eagle Creek Village “an exciting community-inspired achievement (that will) soon become the new office, retail and residential hub of View Royal – the gateway to downtown and to the West Shore.”
Screech agrees with that estimation today.
With the nearest major shopping districts: Langford to the west and Uptown to the south, still a reasonable drive away, the new plaza offers a perfect option for residents on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway, he says.
“We’re excited by it all. I think it’s great for View Royal and great for that neighbourhood in terms of the walkability component, and having those businesses there,” he says. “For the hospital it’s a great amenity too. You can at least run across and get a bite to eat.”
Infrastructure improvements around the project are nearly complete. Crews have finished much of the paving of Watkiss Way and have installed a roundabout at the staff and emergency ward entrance to Victoria General Hospital.
Frustrations caused by the removal of traffic signal triggers under Helmcken Road and Watkiss for the paving project should be alleviated soon, Screech says.
The traffic pattern for vehicles turning left off Helmcken and heading toward the hospital will see an extra turn lane created, as per the Ministry of Highways’ requirement. The move is expected to help alleviate traffic backups toward the TCH and improve traffic flow along Helmcken during busy times.
In all, the plaza and road improvements will benefit the area in the long run, Screech says.
“We’re hoping that Eagle Creek Village can be a catalyst for more new development in properties around the hospital and on Helmcken.”